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Empini producers drop first trailer, reveals star-studded cast

Life & Style
Sipamla said Empini is an edgy show that will have viewers thoroughly entertained.

SHOWMAX has released the trailer for Empini, an action-packed, 52-episode drama set in the dangerous world of private security.

The much-awaited drama  series is set to premiere on May 23, with new episodes on every Thursdays.

Alongside multi-award winner Nambitha Ben-Mazwi and three-time South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) winner Siyabonga Thwala, the trailer gives audience the first glimpse of Nqobile Sipamla as Masasa Fassie.

Sipamla is a household name from shows like Ikhaya, Imbewu - The Seed, The Wife S3, Diep City, Abo Mzala, Ashes To Ashes, Shuga and Home Affairs, among others. In Empini, she plays a gracious, humble, resilient and deeply private woman, whose association with a former lover sees her become the centre of attention.

Sipamla said Empini is an edgy show that will have viewers thoroughly entertained.

“It (Empini) will showcase the intricate dynamics of how it is sometimes necessary that some secrets be kept for the safety of others, while, on the other hand, some secrets must come to light,” she said.

Sipamla reckons that she was initially called to audition for the role of Winnie Bhodoza, which, however, went to Angela Sithole.

“I am glad I got called back to audition for the new part, because once I found out that Masasa resides in Kokstad. I then thought to myself, this is good for me. My heritage derives from the AmaHlubi ethnic group and my mother is Swati/Ndebele.

“So, when I read up about Kokstad and learned that it is just this melting pot of cultures that include AmaHlubi and many other ethnic groups, I was pleased that I was going to be portraying such a character,” she noted.

Sipamla said her maternal grandmother, who was of Griqua heritage spoke isiXhosa and understood IsiBhaca, a Bantu language traditionally considered a dialect of siSwati,  and isiZulu, motivated her to strengthen her preparation for the character linguistically as well.

“I have decided not to be afraid of challenging myself in terms of languages with respect, of course. I want to explore different languages and I want to explore different dialects, so I was totally in my Xhosa brain when I was asked to return for the second audition,” she said.

Masasa is in her 50s and Sipamla is much younger than the character she portrays. She notes that this has been a strategic move.

“I feel like it is been the story of my life. Ever since I started my career, I have been aiming for characters that were 10 to 12 years my senior. I have always wanted the meatier, more challenging, and juicier roles,” Sipamla said.

“I find that it takes one out of a space where you are more likely to show your own habits. Older characters challenge you to do more research and understand more substantial things about life, values, and personality traits.”

She said for the Masasa role, she went into a process of researching personality types.

“She (Masasa) is in the agricultural space, which, for me, means that she is a nurturer of sorts, but also quite an independent thinker. Which also says to me that the work she does takes a certain sense of courage.

“That is why I appreciate the challenge that comes with playing older characters, they give me so much to work with. I must say though, every character I have played has presented me the opportunity to learn, which is what I love.”

Empini’s all-star cast also includes industry legend Owen Sejake (Tsotsi, Beat the Drum) as General Moeti, SAFTA winner Charmaine Mtinta (Yizo Yizo, How To Ruin Christmas, Isono, and Makoti) as Dorah Themba and SAFTA and Africa Movie Academy Award nominee Neo Ntlatleng (Zone 14, Soul City) as Ghathuso Moeti.

Also, part of the cast is Sparky Xulu, Simphiwe Nkabinde, Kabelo Thai, Amahle Khumalo, Joseph Sedibo, Terrence Ngwila and Ernest Ndlovu.


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